Monthly Archives: May 2012

somethings take awhile to develop…

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I’ve had a blog bumming around for some time.  Each time I think I’m ready to post the darn thing, I change my mind about posting and write something else.  I think part of the reason is this blog is supposed to be light-hearted and full of fluff.  But the subject matter at hand is none of those things.

The boy came home from youth group Thursday, clearly upset.  He is currently suffering from pollen induced allergies, which are making his eyes very itchy.  unfortunately, no matter how many times we tell him “Keep your fingers out of your eyes”, the temptation to itch has been too great.  As a result, his eyes eventually begin to swell and hurt.  While at youth group, he began exhibiting odd behavior as a result of that itching–he moaned about how bad his eyes hurt.  Couple with the fact his voice is still changing and I’m sure the sound he released was quite unusual.  The other kids thought this was funny and began to mimic him, to the point that he felt bullied.

Was he bullied or is he is own worst enemy?  I really don’t believe the other students’ intention was to make him feel bad about his situation.  Lord knows, those itchy eyes were already doing the trick.  But Youth Group is supposed to be a safe environment for him.  Unfortunately, that has not been the case for some time.  “Mom basically I go for the free pizza” he told me at the start of the school year.  Yes the draw of pizza I’m sure was great at the time, but we were hoping for a bit more…

Last summer the boy was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a developmental disorder which is characterized by socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers.   For the last year he’s attended skill sessions in an attempt to learn how to read social cues and control his temper when others do not understand his intentions.  His improvements have been tremendous, but this is an ongoing process; one he will have to work on continuously for the rest of his life.

“Why go to youth group if they continue to make you feel bad?” His father asked him.  “Honey, he needs to learn how to handle his peers in a safe place” I replied.  “Doesn’t seem that safe to me” his father shot back.  “It’s okay dad, I’ll probably go back again. I need to learn how to deal with them (other kids).” the boy replied.  Yet each time he has gone back, he’s come home early;disappointed by the other kids actions toward him.

Over the last four years, I’ve gone out to dinner once, maybe twice a year; with people I attended grade school with.   We usually reminisce “What ever happened to so and so”; often times we’ll talk about our lives, how our children are doing, etc.  I remember, a few years back, running into an old classmate and inviting her to attend one of our gatherings.  Her response was sad.  “Will any of  the “popular” girls be there?”  Interesting; how we keep our old labels, as I knew exactly whom she referred to.  When I replied “perhaps” she declined.  “I had enough of those jerks in grade school, no thank you.”

These next five years are so very critical to the boy’s development.  What he experiences now will shape who he’ll become in the future.   I don’t want him looking back thirty years from now with resentment toward anyone.  I certainly don’t want his memories tainted with feelings of  inadequacies and unhappiness.  Life is way too short.

To the boy’s credit, he walked away from youth group last night and came home.  Last year he would have engaged in a physical altercation–though I wouldn’t be surprised if he uttered some curse laden parting shots at them.    I can see the progress he’s made…I wish other kids could see and understand too.

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For more information about Aspberger’s please check out this site, among many others…

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/detail_asperger.htm

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Just being polite…

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There are some mornings where for some reason I awake with the alarm.  I usually hit the snooze button once, but make it downstairs before 7:00 am to get the children up for school.  The time when they are getting ready, coming in to eat breakfast to talk to me is one of my favorite times of the day.  No one’s in a bad mood, the kids are usually talkative about something or other and that’s when I can find out the most information about them.  Yesterday however I came down a few minutes earlier than normal.  This afforded me the time to not only make their lunches, but also a complete breakfast.

As I set the plate of scrambled eggs in front of the boy he announced, “I’m  not hungry”.  “Too bad, you have to eat.” I replied.  He was working on what he called “Enrichment’s” which I believe to be homework he’s put off until the eleventh hour to complete. “No mom, they are extra credit she only gives on the weekends” He argued.  I suppose you could call my cynical when it comes to the boy and anything homework related. “Uh huh.” I replied, “Then why did you wait until 7:00 am the day they are due, to begin them?  Sounds like homework to me.”

Once the boy finished his “Enrichment’s” and put his paperwork away, he began to eat his plate of eggs.  As I finished making his lunch I said sarcastically, “Wow, for someone who wasn’t hungry, you’re doing a great job clearing that plate”. Without missing a beat he said in return, “I’m just being polite.  I wouldn’t want this food or your effort to go to waste.” Smiling at his reply, I was reminded once again why I love this guy.  He’s a hoot…

 

Happy Birthday Daddy…

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My dad said to me the other day, after I worked on changing his financial password for the third time in two days, “You know they just don’t make this very easy for a 91-year-old man with a touch of Alzheimer’s”.   I had to giggle, as my dad does not have that dreaded disease.  “Dad, you have the right to forget a few things and have trouble learning new things, but you do not have dementia or Alzheimer’s.” I replied.  Though, the thought crossed my mind a few hours later when he locked himself out of his financials again.

My Dad turned 91 on Saturday and we celebrated as a family on Sunday.  The hubby and I worked diligently this past week to get the pool ready for the party. The doll wanted to have the distinction as being the first in the pool, but that award went to her father.  “But, I was the first to go swimming in the pool” she clarified later.  This distinction apparently was important where Mary and Elle were concerned.  The boy made no special care one way or the other and enjoyed the freezing pool temperatures as much as the next kid.

The day started out blazing hot with temperatures in the mid ’90’s.  This meant my dad would probably spend his entire day inside the house.  But as a front came through and the temperatures cooled, we were able to coax Dad out onto the pool deck, where he joined us in conversations filled with loud brims of laughter.  He enjoyed the time spent with his family, reminiscing about the good old days and those to come.

“Dad, what do you want for your birthday?” everyone asked prior to the party.  At age 91 finding him the perfect gift becomes increasingly more difficult. “All I want is for my children to say the rosary on a daily basis” He said.  My older sister reminded him, “You know papa, that’s something you cannot enforce”.  “I know” he replied.  “Alright, how about if my family just comes over and celebrates with me on Sunday”.  Without a doubt, that was the easiest present we could give him, and did.

riddles…

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“Mommy, I got a riddle for you.  You want to hear it?” the doll asked me yesterday morning.   Walking into her room, I sat down on her bed and began putting my shoes on when she began,  “Ok, you’re in a steel room/box with no doors or windows.  The only thing you have is a mirror and poster board.  How do you get out?”

I sat there for a moment, not really calculating all the possible ways out of a steel room, but making it look as if I were, when I said “I’d draw a door and walk out”.  “No you can’t do that, you don’t have a pen remember?  Just a mirror and poster board.”  she reminded me. “Hmm, this going to take longer than I thought”, I said to myself.  “You know what, you’ll never get it, so how about I give you the answer?” the doll suggested.

“Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!” I said to her curious face.  “Huh?  Well anyway, the way out of the steel room goes like this…. you look in the mirror and see what you saw, take out the saw and cut the poster board in two.  Put them together and two halves make a whole, then climb through the hole and out of the room”.  Wow, and that was the simple answer too!  “Did ya get it?” the doll said with a laugh, extremely proud of herself.  “Yes, very clever doll, very clever.”

“The most amazing thing of all….” the boy shouted from his bedroom, “…is that Jakob told her that riddle last night and she remembered”.  “Shut up boy! So Mommy did you like my riddle, isn’t it funny”.  Smiling at her, I agreed, it was funny.  Yet as I exited her room, I pondered on how the biggest riddle wasn’t the one she told me, but rather the one that occurs every day in my home.

“How many doll’s and boy does it take to turn off their bedroom lights?  Apparently more than I have, because they are always left on.

peaceful easy feeling…

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As the kids wandered down the street toward home yesterday, I could hear Mary shouting at the boy…”Don’t you dare tell boy, don’t do it!”  He had crossed the street and was close to walking into the house.  As he entered I asked, “So, what are you not supposed to tell me?”  Giving me a sheepish grin he replied, “Uh, nothing of importance”.   Seeing he was going to keep the girls’ secret, I stepped out onto our front stoop and watched the girls walk up my front lawn before I asked, “So what’s the big secret you didn’t want the boy to tell me?”  All three girls stopped in their tracks and began to smile.  Mary spoke first, “Nothing” she said with a giggle.  “Doll, what’s going on here?” I asked.  “Mom, it’s a surprise.” she replied.  “Did you get an F in spelling? or did you get an infraction?” I asked quickly.  “No, no nothing like that.  This is a good surprise, I promise.”

Seeing that it was my birthday, I figured the “surprise” had something to do with a present from the kids.  So I stepped aside and let the girls enter my house.  Then the real “present” began.  All three girls disappeared into the doll’s bedroom.  For an entire afternoon my house was free from “I don’t have to because you’re not the boss of me!” shouted back and forth, over and over again between all three girls.  Also missing were the obligatory “Stop it boy!” shouts which normally fill my afternoons.  Instead I was given a piece of heaven, aka a quiet afternoon.

Shortly before 5 pm, the girls emerged from the doll’s bedroom to present me with three boxes; one from each of them.  Affixed to the top of the middle box was a handmade birthday card, which every kid signed, even the boy.  Inside a $1 bill was taped to the card.  “Mommy, that dollar is from me”  the doll informed.  “But that’s not all, you need to open the boxes…” Elle chimed in.   Inside each box was a piece of hand made “bling”.  The doll’s was a large 22″ necklace, the signature piece, or so I was told.  Elle also made a necklace, but one without a clasp.  No worries, if I folded it over, I had a nice bracelet.  Mary, the over achiever of the group, made a nice 20″ necklace (w/clasp) and a  bracelet to match.

Feeling overwhelmed by their actions I hugged and kissed them all after I put on all my new bling.  “We tried not to make it look to “little girlish” the girls chimed in.  “Oh no, they don’t look like little girls made them at all” I said thanking them again. The boy, smiled at me and then asked in his ever changing voice,  “Did you like my present mama?”  “Yep I surely did boy”.  The girls gave me a curious look, as he did not help in the jewelry making at all.  “The boy’s present to me was to stay away from you girls….did he?”  “Hey, can that be like a daily present?”  Mary asked.  “Only for special occasions” the boy replied.

Damn, if we didn’t all begin to think up future special occasions….on a daily basis.

 

I won the lottery!!

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I called my older sister Terri the other day, wondering if I had won the lottery.  My dad had summoned me over to his home to collect my birthday present and I was surprised by the large amount written on the check.  “Did  I do something special or does he feel bad for me or is this what he’s giving everyone?” I asked her.  My Dad is a generous man, who on occasion writes me checks, just because.   So I wondered if that was why the amount was much higher that it should have been.  “Nope, nothing special; he’s decided, he can’t take his money with him, so why not pass it around now–and if he lives another year, the check will be bigger.”  She informed me. Jokingly I said back, “Well hell, I’d like him to live forever…”

For the past two days, I’ve spent the better part of them, thoroughly cleaning the doll’s bedroom.  I called friends and neighbors and distributed bags of various sized clothing to them.  I especially liked the girl across the street changing into a ballerina, before our very eyes; while her mom and I talked.  One mom asked why I didn’t have a garage sale and make some money off them.  My response was simple, “Most of the clothes were hand me overs/downs to us. I would feel bad if I didn’t offer the same to someone else.”  Lord knows, we’ve appreciated the “clothes fairy” of girls clothing for years.

The other day, we caught the boy looking at some “soft” porn on the internet.  “Mom, I’m sorry, the internet is just too much a temptation for me…” Was his excuse.  I smiled and informed him the parental control locks were being turned on as we spoke.  As he exited the room, his father looked at me in mild disgust.  “You know it’s no fair I had to go over to a buddy’s to see a playboy.  All he has to do is type “sex” into the computer.”  “Yeah…but at least we can control this a little better…”  Looking at one another, we both began to laugh.  Ah puberty, BLECHY and wonderfully funny all at the same time.

Today’s blog is a bit disjointed, but then so is life.  Last year on this date, I had one of the worst days of my life. Charlotte’s husband Al, who also was a good friend of mine’s father,  passed away.  I also had some unsettling news delivered to me (which to this day, still pisses me off).   And the one person I wanted to talk things over with was in heaven; the one place I’m not eager to see yet.  I remember thinking back then,  if this was how the rest of my year was going to go, they might as well shoot me now.  But the year did not follow suit.  Instead I’ve found peace, love, enjoyment in the mundane, bickering, giggles, laughter, God, sisters and some employment–to name a few.

So, a bad day joined a good year.  Here’s hoping today will be a good day, joining with a great year… Any way the next 365 days happen to go, I know I’m blessed.  Hell, I’m better than blessed, I’ve won the lottery!! -in life…  Family, friends, love (and a blog to record it all in too)

 

 

lessons learned

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On Sunday the doll returned home from a sleep over with Mary and Elle.  She excitedly told us all about the fun she had falling out of the bed, playing on a slip and slide and hanging out with her cousins.  Then she showed me the large sliver, embedded deeply into the heel of her foot.  After trying to extract the sliver, her father suggested she soak her foot in white vinegar in  hopes of drawing the intruder out.  Unfortunately, the sliver was still too deep so we let it go until Monday.

When the time came to remove the sliver, Daddy had to dig it out a bit.  “The sliver came out in chunks, so I had to remove a lot of dead skin” he said.  “Mommy, it really hurts” the doll whimpered.  I came to the rescue with a band-aid and Neosporin which, go figure,  seemed to make the pain disappear instantly.  Ah yes, the “Mom’s” touch works every time.

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We have begun the annual Spring cleaning of the kids bedrooms.  The boy’s room will be painted this summer, so he began clearing out old abandoned toys and other articles he no longer wanted.  The doll, in an effort to have clean socks, needed to pull them all out from under her bed; along with all the other various articles collecting dust under cabinets and cases.  Neither child is happy about the work.  The doll however saw this as an opportunity to rearrange her furniture, which we did.  One thing is clear, she has too much furniture!

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“Marsha, the doll left her tennis shoes at the farm on Saturday, so I called the family who told me they attend church with the doll’s ballet teacher.  Their hope is to give the shoes to her and then you’ll be able to retrieve the shoes from the ballet teacher.”  My sister-in-law Kim told me Saturday night.  However by Monday afternoon I had not heard from anyone, regarding  the location of her shoes.  “Doll I’ll write you a note saying your heel will prevent you from participating in gym class tomorrow” I said to her last night.  “But Mom, tomorrow is field day at school and we get to play all sorts of games outside.” the doll argued with me.  Can’t you participate in your school shoes?”  I queried.  “I’ll think of something Mom”. the doll assured me…

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As bedtime arrived, I heard the boy asking his sister why she was crying.  Oh brother here we go.  “Doll, what’s wrong?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.  “I’m just really overwhelmed here mom” she said through heaves of tears.  “Huh?  By what?” I asked.  “I had a lot going on here today….”  she whimpered.  Then using her right hand to demonstrate, she began counting off all the things that led to her being “overwhelmed”.   “First, the sliver in my foot that daddy removed; second cleaning and rearranging my furniture; third, leaving my shoes out in the country and now I can’t participate in field day at school.”

Oh the drama!  “Doll, you can’t blame how you feel about not having your tennis shoes on anything other than yourself.  You were the one who decided to change into flip-flops and not put the shoes back in Aunt Kim’s bag.  That responsibility falls on you–not the sliver in your foot, not the bedroom cleaning, but you.  Right?”  As if that was a cue to begin crying harder, she did so, while shaking her head up and down in confirmation.  “So you don’t participate in gym, why can’t you participate in field day?” I asked her.  “Because mom, all the games, ah..ahh, all…….the……..games…….” heavy sighs, “all the games are running games…..” she said as her voice trailed off, smothered in tears and cries.

“Well then, that’s the price you’ll pay for leaving your shoes out at that farm.”  I said.  Not happy with my response, she rolled over and cried herself to sleep.

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This morning, after the kids left for school I ran over to Kohl’s department store and purchased her a new pair of tennis shoes, in hopes I had the right size for her.  My thinking was she still needed shoes for gym this week and who knew if I’d ever see her other shoes again.  As she entered the school office and saw the new shoes, she gave me several hugs and kisses in gratitude “You’re the best mom ever!!” she repeated over and over again.  “Doll, just remember this day when you’re 15 and hate me, okay?”  I chuckled.  As I turned to leave she shouted, “I’ll never hate you, you’re the best Mom ever, I love you!!”  As I walked away I uttered aloud, “famous last words…”